Jury selection begins this week in a civil trial brought by a former catcher who alleges Jose Offerman ended his career by hitting him in the head with a bat during a 2007 brawl.
Offerman, a 15-season MLB vet who last played for the Mets in 2005, attempted a comeback with the independent Long Island Ducks in 2007. During a game against Bridgeport, Offerman charged the mound with his bat, striking the pitcher in his hands and the catcher, former minor leaguer John Nathans, in the head.
There is no video of the brawl, only some really intense photos. Offerman was charged with two counts of two second-degree assault, (his defense was maybe not so great: "Offerman's attorney Frank Riccio has said he does not believe his client struck the players with a bat,") and served two years of special probation. But Nathans, who claimed the attack ended his career, filed a lawsuit against Offerman and the Ducks for $4.8 million.
While Nathans' career didn't seem to be going anywhere, he did sound pretty fucked up by the assault, complaining of everything from vertigo to headaches to vomiting to a lack of coordination that shows up in his rehabbing, when he tries to catch a big, red, rubber ball:
Other times it bounces off his face and he has to stop because he's dizzy or nauseated. Or worse, he has to go home, pull the covers over his head to shut out the world, and try again tomorrow. He can't tolerate much outside stimuli.
Offerman has been accused of ducking the lawsuit by remaining in his native Dominican Republic, but I don't know that he's any safer there: In 2010, as a manager in the Dominican winter league, Offerman punched an ump.